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Thank you, Stalin. Thank you because I am joyful. Thank you because I am well. No matter how old I become, I shall never forget how we received Stalin two days ago. Centuries will pass, and the generations still to come will regard us as the happiest of mortals, as the most fortunate of men, because we lived in the century of centuries, because we were privileged to see Stalin, our inspired leader … Everything belongs to thee, chief of our great country. And when the woman I love presents me with a child the first word it shall utter will be : Stalin …

—  A. V. Avidenko’s “Hymn to Stalin”

 

On behalf of the entire senior staff around you, Mr. President, we thank you for the opportunity and the blessing that you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people.

— Reince Priebus at Cabinet Meeting

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The Administration and the GOP are now heading for tax reform. They want to cut taxes. I read that to mean:

  1. Lower taxes for the rich and Trump’s cronies
  2. Burden the country with more debt to account for those tax cuts
  3. Give the middle-class a one-time check of a few hundred dollars that is enough to pay for one trip to Costco – just to make them feel good.

Trump supporters want lower taxes, and they believe their hero that those couple of hundred dollars (IF THAT) is their fair share.

To support this initiative, Trump tells his supporters that the United States has one of the highest tax burdens in the world. That is simply not true whatsoever.

Trump lies.

It takes about 5 seconds to google and see the reality:

[click to enlarge]

Source: Taxfoundation.org. Check this site for a wealth of more information.

This shows that the United States is actually below average.

I am not saying that paying taxes like they do in Belgium or Germany is good. I am just saying that Trump lied to his followers, whom he obviously considers too lazy or stupid to look up the facts for themselves.

Trump wants to cut taxes for billionaires. And the middle-class, the unemployed coal miners, “the milk people,” the Carrier workers that just lost their jobs in Indiana, they are still supporting Trump.

Trump is raiding this country for himself, his clan, and his cronies in the fossil fuel business, and the Russian mob, and the American people are blind to it and somehow think this is good for them.

One day, after 2018, or after 2020, we will all wake up with massively more national debt, less jobs for the lower and middle class, less education for all, and we’ll realize we have been duped. That is if we’re not in some new massive war with a new adversary like Iran or North Korea that he starts just to crank up the military industrial complex.

Trump is Making America Stupid Again.

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Well, you know, we’re going for 15 [percent]. We’re going to see, and we’ll see. But, you know, I don’t want to say anything about negotiation. I mean, we are asking for 15 percent, and we think we’re going to grow tremendously. So I deal with foreign countries, and despite what you may read, I have unbelievable relationships with all of the foreign leaders. They like me. I like them. You know, it’s amazing.

So I’ll call, like, major — major countries, and I’ll be dealing with the prime minister or the president. And I’ll say, how are you doing? Oh, don’t know, don’t know, not well, Mr. President, not well. I said, well, what’s the problem? Oh, GDP 9 percent, not well. And I’m saying to myself, here we are at like 1 percent, dying, and they’re at 9 percent and they’re unhappy. So, you know, and these are like countries, you know, fairly large, like 300 million people. You know, a lot of people say — they say, well, but the United States is large. And then you call places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and you say, you know, how many people do you have? And it’s pretty amazing how many people they have. So China’s going to be at 7 [percent] or 8 percent, and they have a billion-five, right? So we should do really well.

But in order to do that — you know, it’s tax reform, but it’s a big tax cut. But it’s simplification, it’s reform, and it’s a big tax cut, 15 –

— Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017 in the Oval Office – Read the full transcript here.

This shows how well Trump understands how economies work. How that man got rich is beyond me. Was it all money laundering, stiffing contractors, and walking away from failing projects?

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Do Something, Mr. President

Ludicrous, Mr. President. The world is not watching. The world is scratching its head.

If you want a health plan, please stop tweeting, stop playing golf, stop wasting time and taxpayer travel money on silly campaign rallies. You are the president.

Get to work and come up with a plan, a good plan, such a good plan and so cheap, one where everybody will win, and all the Republicans and most of the Democrats will vote for it. It’s actually quite simple.

If you want to have a plan that allows people to buy across state lines, work on such a plan, and present it, and we’ll all support it. You don’t need to kick 26 million people off their health insurance to create a market that allows people to buy across state lines.

To use your own words: It’ll be great, and it’ll be so easy.

Do something, Mr. President!

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Trump stated that he won’t own the Affordable Care Act and its success.

What would have happened if Nixon had said he didn’t own the Vietnam War he inherited?

What if Obama had said he didn’t own the economy that was in free fall when he took office? What if he had said that Bush had caused the massive unemployment rate and the unprecedented collapse of real estate values that was underway in 2007 and early 2008?

What if Obama had said he didn’t own the Iraq and Afghanistan wars he inherited?

As compared to Trump and his national inheritance, Obama really did inherit a mess when he took office. Not once did we hear him blame Bush for it. He just did what he had to – and it caused massive deficits and debt, but we’re all here, and our real estate values are almost back to 2007 level (yippee!), the unemployment rate is down and the stock market is booming. Trump didn’t make those things happen. We Americans did, under Obama’s steady leadership, calm demeanor, and stubborn responsibility-taking.

Trump apparently thinks the United States, its economy, and the health insurance for millions of Americans is another Trump Taj Mahal. When it doesn’t work anymore, the doesn’t own it anymore, and he files Chapter 11.

Please make note, while Trump says filing Chapter 11 is “using the laws of the country brilliantly – smart”- I don’t agree with him. Filing Chapter 11 is walking away from the responsibilities you took on when you signed up for deal, it’s stiffing your creditors who have spent their own money and labor into making your projects happen and then not paying them, it’s walking away from the commitment you made to the employees you hired, and it’s walking away from the banks (and apparently Russian oligarchs) who funded your projects.

When things don’t go well for Don Donald, he walks away.

He is treating our country like he treats his own businesses. While he can suck money out of them, he will. When they wear out, he “doesn’t own them anymore.”

I have been a business leader all my life. I have learned early that to have a chance at success, I have to take personal responsibility for everything that happens. If a deal goes sour, it’s my responsibility because I didn’t negotiate proper terms, didn’t research it sufficiently in advance, didn’t seek good counsel from my staff, or didn’t estimate the job properly. It’s my problem, and I own it. If an employee makes a mistake, I will show the employee the mistake so he or she can learn from it, and then I proceed to fix the mistake as best I can. I will own it.

Trump took over a trite soundbite of the GOP: “Repeal and Replace.” Obviously, Repeal is easy. You just undo the work somebody else (Obama, the Congress, and their experts) did many years ago. When you repeal something, you make it so it is back to what it was before it was done. Obviously, going back to the state of healthcare in 2007 is not solving any problem. It’s just going back to that time. We had a problem we were trying to fix with the Affordable Care Act.

Since Repeal by itself does not work, it has to come with Replace. And there lies the rub. While the GOP was trumpeting Replace for seven years, they apparently never spent any time working on a real plan that might be successful. They are now not getting votes because they can’t show what they are going to do. If you have no plans, eventually people will figure it out. The lack of the emperor’s clothes is obvious now.

That’s why Repeal and Replace didn’t work. The president, in his laziness and quest of dumbing down the country took up the trite phrase and “promised” the American people they were going to have such great healthcare and massively lower cost. There was no substance to this statement, just like there appears to be no substance to anything Trump says.

It was easy to stand there at the podium, rally after rally, and shout “Repeal and Replace.” But it turned out to be work, very hard, complicated work, to actually come up with a plan. Rather than rolling up his sleeves and getting to work with Republicans and Democrats together, Trump took the lazy way out:

“I won’t own it.”

Now he blames the lack of votes from the Democrats for the failure. The Democrats would have been totally willing work on improvements to the healthcare system, had they been ask to help work on the plan. But there was no plan.

Trump is misleading the American people, he is too lazy to do the hard work of governing, and he does not have the backbone to stand up and get to work for the country when things get tough. He is not willing to do the job of President of the United States.

He won’t own it.

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Ok, let me get this straight:

You get yourself elected, make sure you have both houses of Congress in your party’s control, and then you can do anything you want, profit from the presidency, sell out the country to the highest bidder, launder money for the Russian mob, install your unqualified and unelected kids into high government positions, appoint cronies who are not qualified for their positions, and then commit crimes – say shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue – and then pardon yourself – over and over again.

Trump, with his infinite power, could revoke the 22nd Amendment (Hitler playbook), gerrymander the districts and make sure he gets reelected. If any strong opponents surface, he just has them whacked (Putin playbook).

When he dies, he installs Donald Jr., so we start a dynasty of Trumps for the next 75 years (Kim Il-sung playbook).

That’s what happens when a president can just pardon everyone, including himself.

Meanwhile, America, its values and its institutions, are rapidly going down the tubes. The United States of America is becoming an oligarchy at an alarming rate.

Trump supporters seem to not mind that. Don’t they see this guy is completely corrupt? How is that good for America?

Trump, eight months after winning the election, looks increasingly illegitimate with every day that more information trickles out. Whenever bad news surface, he deflects and questions why we’re not going after Hillary and her emails. Because Hillary is now a private citizen, she isn’t mucking with our country, she isn’t dismantling our environmental protections, she isn’t selling favors to the highest bidders, she isn’t undermining our health insurance system, and she isn’t systematically dumbing down our country.

Go ahead, investigate Hillary all you want. It has no meaning to the county! Hillary has ridden off into the sunset.

It’s Trump that’s doing damage to our country that will take decades to clean up. That’s why we’re interested in his apparently criminal career and current obvious abuses of power.

Don’t even tell me I am just mad that Hillary didn’t win. I am way over Hillary. But I, for one, want my country back.

Now!

 

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Trump and Hannity

Trump didn’t like the negative press he got for having his daughter sit in for him at a meeting of the world leaders at the G-20 summit. The ridicule was universal. So, to make it better, he thought he should lash out at – the Clintons. This is what he tried:

The President of the United States lashes out at the daughter of an Ex-President in a puerile tweet. Yes, that is really going to make me think of him as presidential!

But Chelsea wasn’t having any of it.

What Trump means with “giving the country away” is beyond me, but even if it made sense, how would that somehow justify his presumptuous action of sending his daughter to that table? Even IF Clinton had done the same thing, it still would not make his action right.

This is what the Trump supporters always do. When someone criticizes Trump, they point out that supposedly Obama or Clinton, or lately even Carter somehow did the same thing, and therefore why are we critical of the president?

Hannity, in his monologue tonight, used the same technique. He called the national uproar about Trump Jr.’s admission of collusion a “Russian Psychosis.” The entire left-wing media was foaming at the mouth about nothing, he said. Then he pointed out that supposedly Clinton had colluded with the Ukrainians to win advantages over Trump during the election.

Let’s just analyze that for a minute and assume that whatever Clinton did with Ukraine was equivalent to what it looks like Trump did with Russia. If that were true, and equivalent, McConnell and Ryan would be going after Clinton now, and we’d have special prosecutors, and 21 investigations underway, and Trump would be calling to “lock her up!” Hannity, by making the two equivalent, does all but agree that Trump did apparently collude and that it was wrong. But we’re supposed to be angry that there is no outrage over Clinton and Ukraine.

Well, Hannity, Clinton is not the president. Trump is. And it looks like he and his staff committed crimes to get to that office. The media are just helping expose the facts. The media didn’t make Trump take those actions. The media are witnesses. The media are not trying to make Trump unable to do this job, as you said tonight. The media is reporting as best as it can.

It’s not the media’s fault Trump is unable to govern effectively. It’s not the fault of Congress or, as you so condescendingly put it, the “lazy Republicans in Congress.” Trump messed this up all by himself.

And while I am ranting: It is the height of arrogance for Hannity to call those Republicans who can no longer stand by and participate in this destructive behavior “lazy.” Let’s see what these “lazy Republicans” will have to say when this is all over, and Hannity’s darling falls.

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Unqualified and Unfit

Trump is our president. He vowed to protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

I am not convinced that he is doing that. Making a deal with Putin about not looking to quarrels of the past and moving forward productively is condoning what happened. Accepting Putin’s denial of the Russian hacking is naïve at least, negligent of duty more likely.

Russia is one of the world’s most corrupt countries. If you need further education or information about Russian corruption, read the book Red Notice by Bill Browder. It will convince you.

Up to now, America was in an entirely different league. But that is changing rapidly with Trump and is ilk in office. Nepotism abounds.

He put his daughter at the table with the G-20 world leaders, rather than another elected official or a cabinet-level appointee. His daughter! Who has never held a job in her life that he didn’t hand to her or appoint her to. Who has no diplomatic experience whatsoever. Our president left the cockpit while the ship was under full sail, and he gave the helm to his unqualified and inexperienced daughter. Are the nuclear codes safe with him? Nothing else seems to be.

I wonder what we would have said to Obama if he had sat his daughter at that table in 2014? Seriously!

By inviting the Russians to jointly investigate cyber security, he is inviting the proverbial fox into the henhouse. This is foolish. The Russians are playing Trump like a fiddle. And we’re all sitting here watching in disbelief.

Trump is unqualified and unfit. We knew that all along, and even his GOP opponents proclaimed it before the election. Together with unqualified and unfit, he is now also uneducated and unsophisticated. The world laughs about us and about him. He doesn’t even seem think there is anything wrong. After all, his supporters wanted him to “fix America” and not the world. But with the role and influence of America in the world, that’s just not possible. He is passing world leadership to China and Russia, and that may never be reversed.

China and Russia are smarter, more experienced, more shrewd and more corrupt than we are.

And we are the laughing-stock of the world.

 

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Ivanka Trump sits at the table with Putin and Xi, while our president is absent. We have elected Donald Trump. We have not elected Ivanka or Jared. I consider the president a con man who faked his way into the presidency. Now we have a reality TV freak show running our government, and the Trump clan is systematically gaining notoriety, and wealth and influence, well beyond what I think they deserve.

There is no doubt, Trump is the most successful real estate salesman in the history of the world. I grant him that. That is a title he has earned.

But our country is not a reality show. Our country affects all of us, and in the end it affects me. The Trumpashians have hijacked the American government, and we’re letting it happen.

Ivanka probably thinks that she will inherit the presidency from her father one day, just like Kim Jong-un did from his. The nepotism and glaring inappropriateness of this in front of the world does not create sufficient outrage here in the United States.

They embarrass all of us, and it’s done in the name of the American people.

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Trump vs. CNN

I found this odd poll today on my Facebook feed:

There are a lot of things wrong with polls like this. Whom do we trust more? A single person or a news corporation? That makes little sense as it is. I guess it means whose word, whose honesty, do we trust more?

CNN is thousands of reporters, correspondents, news professionals, with decades of history. Some might be “dishonest” to use a Trump word. But not every one of them. Not all of them. There is no conspiracy of CNN news professionals that have conspired to lie to make Trump look bad.

And why is this a thing all of a sudden? Do we really believe that CNN, or any other news organization, like the Washington Post or the New York Times all of a sudden became evil and dishonest because we have a new president? Surely that didn’t happen. If CNN were as dishonest to the core as Trump seems to indicate, it could not have just started last November. They would have been dishonest all along, or at least for a few years, right? Or do we think they just had a meeting after the election and decided from now on they were all going to make shit up?

Trump has lied many times. This is evident and documented. He has said things one day and denied saying them the next day. There are probably hundreds of examples, on video, of this. Trump lies. I really have a hard time understanding how 89% of Republicans can then say they trust Trump. But they are not saying they trust Trump, are they? They are saying they trust Trump more than CNN, that’s all. So if I am a Republican, and I trust Trump just a smidgen more than CNN, I’d have to say Trump, and obviously, 9 out of 10 will say that. Still, it boggles my mind. Trump lies so obviously, so unabashedly, I certainly wouldn’t trust him with my children, or my money, or my business. But then again, I am not a Republican, I am an Independent.

When we don’t trust CNN, we apparently don’t trust what they say. CNN’s investigative reporters, like all investigative reporters, are interested in going after the truth. If you are a reporter and you get caught lying, you don’t last very long in your job. You can’t afford dishonesty. Your boss will fire you. So I just don’t buy that CNN is conspiring to hurt Trump. CNN’s reporters try to tell the truth.

Could it be that it’s that truth that the Republicans just don’t like? When you don’t like the truth, but you know deep down that it is the truth, the easiest thing to do is to deny it, call it fake news. And I think that’s what Trump is doing. Trump needs adulation, and anything but adulation is therefore inimical, and the target of his wrath.

Here is the biggest problem I have with all that: If CNN is really dishonest, we can turn it off and listen to something else. If the New York Times is dishonest, we can just not read it. Then it no longer does damage. I have to believe that for every dishonest news outlet there is another one that’s honest. We as consumers get to choose what we want to read or listen to. That’s a good thing.

We as consumers do not get to choose what our president says and does, and if the president lies, we can only expose those lies as what they are. But he gets to keep going. In contrast, the news reporters who lie get fired.

I am an Independent, and I am not going to say that I trust CNN more or less than I trust Trump. It does not matter and it’s an irrelevant comparison. CNN is a news outlet that I can ignore. Trump is the President of the United States.

And I don’t trust him whatsoever.

 

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GOP Healthcare Plans

We have to come up, and we can come up with many different plans. In fact, plans you don’t even know about will be devised because we’re going to come up with plans – healthcare plans – that will be so good.

— President Donald Trump

 

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  1. Address your base. Make it so opposition would be very uncomfortable.
  2. Hold rallies after you are elected, simply to rile up your supporters.
  3. Publish hotshot pictures, and today videos, of yourself physically beating up someone to show how tough you are and to lower the threshold of physical violence in your supporters.
  4. Find a common enemy, a scapegoat that can’t defend itself. Muslims in general are a good example. “The Media” portrayed as evil and dishonest is another example.
  5. Define opposition to your views as fake news.
  6. Define the attempt of discovering the truth of what happened as unpatriotic, or dishonest, or even criminal.
  7. Start attacking the Constitution and position it as opposed to the good of the people.
  8. Position yourself as the “only one who can solve these problems.”
  9. Equating your ambitions and goals with the “objectives of the people.”
  10. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat……

Trump has been using all those techniques to rile up his base.

Hitler did the same thing in 1932 and 1933, and successfully took power of an entire country with a minority of supporters, because those supporters quickly resorted to physical violence, silencing of the media by threat of physical violence, and quickly and unconstitutionally usurping police power in all areas of law enforcement. Once law enforcement was taken over, there was no turning back. The country was a thug, and it beat up its people. Then it beat up other people. It took 12 years, and 60 million deaths, to stop that thug. Then it took another half decade of misery before that country started its recovery.

Trump is working the Hitler playbook like a master. 2017 is 1933. Everything is on track.

This time it’s called: Make America Great Again.

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Modern Day Presidential

This man is truly nuts. Yet, we elected him to the presidency.

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Here is a little chart I put together listing numbers of deaths by various, sometimes surprising causes:

Cause of Death Annual Source
Islamic jihadist immigrants 2
Right-wing terrorists 5
Latex balloons 5 source
All Islamic terrorists (incl. US citizens) 9
Crushed by vending machines falling over 10 source
Armed toddlers 21
Lightning 31
Lawnmowers 69
Falling coconuts on beaches 150
Hit by a bus 264
Falling out of bed 450
Autoerotic asphyxiation 600 source
Automobile crashes 35000
Opioid drug overdoses 50000 source

I agree that some of these are less than serious, and when I researched them individually I found various discrepancies. For instance, I could not tell whether the number of people choking themselves while masturbating (autoerotic asphyxiation) is a world-wide or US statistic.

Then there are the lawnmowers, those vicious killers. I just could not believe that number, but as I researched, I found that lawnmower deaths are mostly due to rolling over into ponds and creeks, and drowning in the process. Some are due to riding the lawnmowers on streets and being run over by cars.

But my point actually is that our president has us all frothing at the mouth about evil terrorists coming into the United States and killing us. The entire nation is debating what we should do about those terrorists, and we are spending massive amounts of time talking about it in the national media. The courts are choked with it, all the way to the Supreme Court. With a partial ban in place, immigration facilities at airports are affected, needing manpower. Let alone all the lawsuits that will be filed on behalf of people who think they were wronged. This entire frenzy was created by a single, obsessed man, who has used this as a vehicle to gain power and to aggrandize himself.

If we really wanted to save American lives, making Americans safer, we should think about some of the other causes of death in the chart above.

For instance, we used to have a problem with lawn darts:

Over a period of eight years, lawn darts had sent 6,100 people to the emergency room. 81% of those cases involved children 15 or younger, and half of those were 10 or younger. The majority of injuries were to the head, face, eyes or ears, and many had led to permanent injury or disability.

— Google

Wow, we were able to make America safer by banning lawn darts! Now those 6,100 people over 8 years, or 762 a year, are no longer getting injured.

How about we ban latex balloons! It will save five children a year from choking to death. Let’s create a frenzy about that! Those evil balloon makers!

If President Trump and all our politicians were REALLY concerned with the health and safety of Americans, they would work on solutions to the opioid abuse epidemic we are dealing with in the United States right now. But they are not talking about that.

Trump does not care one bit about the health and safety of Americans. He cares about himself, and himself only. And his actions and inactions show that loud and clear.

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Why would our government craft bills that allow hunters to kill bears while they hibernate, or wolves and their young in dens?

There has been a public outcry about Trump’s initiative. Looking at it further, it’s less about bears and wolves, than it is about governmental reach and what conservatives call “wrongful seizure of authority.” Of course, this was supported by the NRA and the Safari Club International.

In reality, however, most of those practices were already prohibited to sport hunters under Alaska law, and some of them, including hunting coyotes in their dens and killing hibernating bears and cubs, were permitted to subsistence hunters even under the federal regulations.

The deeper issue all along was state vs. federal control of wildlife management. Despite support from scientific, environmental, and animal welfare advocacy groups, the federal restrictions were considered intrusive and unwarranted by many Alaskans. The state filed a lawsuit in January 2017 contending that the rules amounted to federal overreach, harming the ecosystem and citizens of Alaska. With the support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Safari Club International, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced H.J. Res. 69 in February 2017 to redress what he termed a “wrongful seizure of authority”:

— Snopes

If you read the Snopes analysis you will come away with the realization that as a result of this, no more or less bears will really be affected. It’s about Obama, and undoing his initiatives, relentlessly, one after the other.

Since Trump has no real convictions, or strategy, or vision other than self-aggrandizement, he will sign anything his special interest friends and kleptocrats will put in front of him.

Bears be damned.

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